Investing in Partnerships

Last month, the Charleston Metro Chamber released an Investment Opportunity Study designed to establish a fact-based platform for collaborative partnerships with local governments on shared priorities. These priorities, referred to as “Partnership Priorities,” serve as our regional advocacy playbook as we work collaboratively with elected officials and municipal staff to advance our region.

This week, we jumped headfirst into one partnership priority with the City of North Charleston.

While the city’s development timelines and costs are the most competitive in the region, through conversations with the city’s planning and zoning staff and members of our Developers Council, an opportunity to facilitate an open dialogue between the two parties to reduce friction and enhance the performance of the permitting process was identified.

To address this, the Chamber hosted a workshop that allowed developers and planning and zoning staff to walk through the city’s permit application portal and site plan review checklist together to better understand each other’s perspective.

This proved valuable in two ways:

-By getting a unique look at the back end of the city’s permitting system, attendees were better able to understand what information is required to move their projects forward expeditiously.

-City staff was able to see what members of the development community experience when submitting plans and immediately saw opportunities for improvement. One such improvement was the opportunity for applicants to track their application in real time (i.e. what department has their application at any given point during the process).

The highlight of this workshop was the collaboration that took place. City staff welcomed feedback from the development community on how the review process can be more user-friendly and easy to follow. Similarly, members of the development community encouraged staff to let them know how they can make their work site plan review easier. A repeated sentiment is that both parties wanted to do their work while making life as easy as possible for the other. This is the perfect foundation for a long-term, productive partnership between our Developers Council and the City of North Charleston Planning and Zoning Staff. We saw an opportunity and collaboratively are working to identify solutions.

This is precisely what the Investment Opportunity Study was intended to do.

Erica Wright,
Director of Regional Government Relations

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Change of Pace at the State House